Voting on key 2014 World Cup bill delayed further
FIFA and 2014 World Cup organizers suffered another setback in Brazil after a congressional commission again delayed voting on a key bill regulation football's showcase event.
The commission partially approved the proposed law on Tuesday, but some key points — including the sale of alcohol inside stadiums — were going to be voted on separately on Wednesday in Sao Paulo.
Congressmen said they had to postpone the vote until next week because they were called up to handle other congressional matters.
The delay should further upset FIFA, which wanted the bill approved quickly to expedite the country's World Cup preparations. Football's governing body wants the proposed law to take effect by the end of March, allowing organizers to get on with the job of preparing the country for the tournament.
"It's not only FIFA which is worried," said Vicente Candido, who wrote the bill. "We are all worried now."
The vote was expected to happen two weeks ago, but it was delayed after some members of the commission asked for more time to analyze the bill.
After being approved by the commission, the law still has to go through the lower house and the senate before reaching President Dilma Rousseff.
The proposed law setting the legal framework for the World Cup and the Confederations Cup would give FIFA the necessary guarantees to organize the events. But critics say the bill gives too much power to FIFA and exempts the body from certain responsibilities.
The sale of alcohol inside Brazilian stadiums has been illegal for years, but Budweiser is a major World Cup sponsor and FIFA demands Brazil allows the sale of beer at the 12 tournament venues. FIFA said the Brazilian government agreed to such request when it accepted to host the World Cup back in 2007.
The issue has been generating a lot of controversy in Brazil, but congressmen expected to have enough votes to approve the sale of beer during the football events.
Prosecutors met with lawmakers on Tuesday and asked them to oppose the sale of alcohol, claiming that incidents involving violence and alcohol inside stadiums dropped significantly after the current law went into effect. Defenders of the law said the sale of alcohol would be made illegal again after the competition has ended.
Other issues which would have been voted on Wednesday included the definition of crime in cases of trademark infringement and the extension of electronic visas to visitors attending other sporting events in the country.